Laughter Yoga: Giggle Your Way to Emotional Wellness

I think we can all agree that people need to laugh more. Laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can help you to lose 280 calories, as well as improving your emotional wellness with a release of endorphins. Laughter yoga has emerged relatively recently, launched in 1995 by Indian physician Dr Madan Kataria, but the wellbeing regime has now become a global phenomenon.

There are thousands of laughter clubs in more than 72 countries, the latest of which being Qatar. It is in this country that Gabi Pezo, a certified laughter yoga teacher, has been engaged to give laughter yoga classes, combining unconditional laughter with yogic breathing. She explained, ‘Anyone can laugh for no reason, without relying on humour, jokes or comedy. In these classes laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group; with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter.’

She continued, ‘The concept of laughter yoga is based on the scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter.’ As a result, you will experience the same physiological and psychological benefits even if the laughter is simulated, no matter who you are. ‘For children, it’s a different type of class. But you can also do it with seniors or patients in a hospital. You can do it with everybody except with people that are really ill, pregnant women on their third trimester or people with heart problems,’ said Pezo.

If the whole thing sounds a bit, well, laughable, you’re not alone. ‘Laughter yoga can make you feel embarrassed and awkward at first, so if you’re going to try it, I recommend leaving all those prejudices at the door and let go,’ Pezo advised. ‘The class comprises various exercises that will take you back to your days at the playground, allowing you to let your inner child out and forget about stress and daily worries. From inhaling air and exhaling a burst of laughter to tickling the person next to you in between laughs, you can expect the unexpected and have a lot of fun that will leave you with a smile on your face for the rest of the day.’

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